I have posted a few times (here, here and here) about the so-called “healthy eaters” of our generation – the ones who fad-diet and going on juice cleanses to starve themselves for a week and rid themselves of toxins before heading straight for McDonald’s. The ones who think a week of hardcore dieting, living off lip gloss and fresh air will even out months of eating no fruits and vegetables and packing down the crisps. I can’t stand crash dieters who do this . People like them give people like us (the healthy ones who make lifestyle changes to remain in good shape and at full strength) a bad name.
Every now and then, a few tweets will pop up on my Twitter feed, or I’ll spot Facebook statuses announcing to the world that someone is dieting, trying to lose a few pounds and is struggling. They might say something about how eating healthy is boring or how they are eating healthy but not losing any weight. First of all, take a good look at the pictures in this post – all of healthy meals and drinks that have been freshly prepared with the best ingredients and are full of flavour. Tell me that food, like the plate of salmon and salad at the top, are boring – that this riot of colour is less appealing than a squashed, greasy McDonald’s burger. Or the black linguine with king prawns and garlic below – is this just too full of flavour for you?Dieters need to realise that if they have been living off a diet of crap, then that is what their body has become used to, that your body now craves high levels of sugar and fat. Yes the first few weeks will always be a struggle because you are essentially trying to change a lifetime of bad habits, and you will be craving the diet your body is used to. But after this period, you body will start to crave the right foods and the longer you stick with this course, the more you will start to enjoy the foods. Your taste-buds in turn will start to relish in the diverse flavours, something they had been numbed to with a previously high sugar and fat diet. Now they will wake up and smell the bacon, or so to speak.
It is important to realise that this is not an immediate process and will not happen in the first week, but a few weeks down the line, you will start to notice big changes. It just means sticking with your health kick for long enough so that it becomes a lifestyle change. Another problem that is often voiced, is the failure to lose weight despite switching to healthier foods – well first of all, make sure that the foods you think are healthy are in fact, because if you have gone for “diet” foods and ranges, often these contain a lot of hidden sugars which turn to fat, and salt. These can cause even more health problems in the long run when actually it is very simple – lots of fruits and vegetables, less carbohydrates and stick to brown rices/breads/pasta, and go for protein-heavier meals with plenty of fish and less red meat. Cooking things yourself means cutting out the middle man, who often adds a lot of salt and preservatives that you do not want to be eating, plus cooking yourself makes you more aware of what is going in your own food.Finally, something else that those looking at changing their diet need to realise is the importance of portion sizes – if you are eating healthy but are still bigger than you feel you should be, portion sizes could be the problem. Some of us go on a health kick and while starting to eat better foods, we start to eat massive portions to fill ourselves up, in turn stretching our stomachs to make us hungrier than we should be. It is important to realise that in Western countries we are probably already eating far more than we really need, and spending a fortune on food while 1.2 billion people around the world are living on the equivalent of £1 per day – read more about this and living below the poverty line on Sarah Hardman Travels.
It is important to remember that the size of each food group on your plate will need reshuffling, but also the size of your plate – if you are a pile it high kind of person, you might not be giving your stomach a chance to say it is full before shovelling a load more down. Again, much like the changing of foods, it will take a few weeks to adjust if you are usually someone who eats massive platefuls with big snacks in-between – but once you have adjusted, you will wonder how you even found time to eat so much food. I’m not saying never have a treat, or a cheeky McDonalds – I’m just saying that the healthy lifestyle should be the norm, and the treats should remain just that. Particularly if you are intent on losing weight or being healthier.
Give it a try and let me know how you get on – you might be surprised the effect eating a little less overall and some more of the right things can have on your body.
For me it’s the friends who post about dieting or detoxing and how this time it’s all or nothing, yet the minute they have a bad day it’s immediately an excuse to get back on the chocolate. I made a few lifestyle changes and re educated my palette and now, when I’m tired or in need of a boost I find myself craving salads and avocados far more often than chocolate and fast food. Then, I find I get the slightly condescending oh you’re so good, I wish I was more like you comments. It’s really not hard to make healthy living choices and you’re absolutely right, they should be the norm.
I couldn’t agree more! I hate that patronising “You’ve changed” or “You’re body’s a temple” – nope, I’m just taking care of myself. I very much believe that what we put into our bodies is what we get out of it, now because I eat well and exercise, I feel terrible from drinking coke and eating takeaways. It makes me not even want to put that in my body – I actually get a food hangover! You’re right when you speak about re-educating your palette – this is one of the most important bits but once you’ve done it, it really does change your life. It just takes a little commitment. I often think the ones who make the most noise about it are the ones who never succeed. Those I know who have chosen to make big changes are usually the ones who just get on with it under the radar and make the biggest differences in the long-run. What’s your favourite healthy treat? xx
Totally obsessed with avocado at the moment, to the point where I got ridiculously excited when I found a Pinterest board dedicated to avocado recipies! If I’m being ‘naughty’ it’s all about the root vegetable crisps and my go-to comfort dinner is oven roasted mediterranean vegetables with chicken – I use an amended Jamie recipe which adds paprika, thyme and balsamic vinegar. Mostly I seem to live off a range of vegetable stir-frys with lots of purple sprouting broccoli and pak-choi. The last time I thought about ‘treating’ myself to a takeaway I ended up getting a Tesco finest meal and a rum and fudge yoghurt for pudding! =D xx
Oooh those all sound lovely! I love roasted vegetables – my absolute favourite, I’ve even started having them with a roast dinner now! I’m going to have to get into more avocado I think – you’ve got me excited about it! Stir fry is the best, so healthy and quick, so I always find it perfect after the gym 🙂 rum and fudge yoghurt sounds delicious! I absolutely love salmon – whether spicy or teriyaki or herby – all so yum! In fact I just love any fish to be honest.. 🙂 xx
Couldn’t agree more 🙂 I recently went on a sugar detox and found the first couple of weeks I craved sugar but now find certain sweet treats too sweet. I LOVE vegetables! Funny how your body reacts/gets used to certain situations. I’m not usually a link leaver, but it might be useful for healthy eaters 🙂 http://bloggedbyanna.com/2014/03/09/sugar-just-say-no/ x
Such a great example Anna and thanks for the link – you’re right people will find it interesting – I certainly did! It jut shows how your body learns to cope the best it can with whatever you throw at it – it is just a personal decision over whether you want the best for you body so you get the best out of it, or not.. My tastes have changed a lot over time, when I was younger I had a very sweet tooth but now I eat healthily I rarely crave sweet things – it’s always savoury but always proper meals rather than crisps or rubbish like that.. Xx
All so true… although I have to say I was much better at healthy eating before I had kids and trying to cater for two different sorts of taste already. I used to eat stir fried vegetables most “normal” nights ie when I didn’t have time to cook something big.
I’m sure it’s much easier when it’s just one person, but I’m sure you also have your kiddies eating good and wholesome foods as well 😊 I love stir fry – it’s so simple and easy to cook for one or a group – how anyone could say healthy food isn’t convenient I don’t know! I also think it’s important to detox your body as well and have veg heavy meals instead of eating so much meat all the time – and I am a huge meat lover!
I have to agree it does take time for the body to get used to getting healthy food. Glad you wrote this thought provoking post.
Meg | Meghan Silva’s Blog
Thanks Meg 🙂 I think that’s why some people don’t stick to the healthy eating if it doesn’t work straight away. My friend was seeing a nutritionist after living off energy drinks and loads of carb-heavy foods and he has turned her life around. Now she’s lost loads of bloat around her stomach and she feels amazing but at first she felt awful for several weeks while her body got used to living without massive amounts of stodge and caffeine – it just takes time 🙂